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Puffed Wheat, Sugar, and Salmonella?

Posted in Outbreaks & Recalls,Salmonella on June 16, 2018

It seems as though Salmonella is creeping into every facet of our lives. This time: breakfast cereal. Yes, you heard me right. Kellogg’s Honey Smacks cereal, since late Thursday evening, has been recalled due to Salmonella. The FDA and CDC, working with Kellogg, made the decision to get the message out as quickly as they could and issue a recall.

In the midst of another Salmonella outbreak, this is what we are looking for from the CDC: fast information and faster response. I will offer my own praise here for their quick response. In order to protect ourselves, the first line of defense is knowledge. This time that knowledge made it to the public promptly.

It is important to get this bit of information to you, the reader, as fast as possible. Not only is this a new outbreak, so there is a minimal amount of information, but more importantly, the children and elderly are at high risk here.

I admonish anyone with children or have friends with children to get this information to them. Sugary cereals have a reputation for being a “kid’s cereal”, that is why I point this out. This one is a really scary outbreak.

The Cereal in Question

Kellogg’s Honey Smacks, a puffed wheat cereal has been recalled. This is the official statement from the FDA:

“Kellogg Company today announced it is voluntarily recalling 15.3 oz. and 23 oz. packages of Kellogg’s ® Honey Smacks ® cereal (with code dates listed below) because these products have the potential presence of Salmonella. No other Kellogg products are impacted by this recall.”

Note that the recall is for two different size packages.

  • 15.3 oz. UPC Code 3800039103
  • 23 oz. UPC Code 380004810

Both have a best-by date between June 14, 2018 and June 14, 2019

DO check to see if these cereal boxes are in your household.

DO NOT eat them of feed them to anyone in your household.

Here you can find the official the FACT SHEET from the FDA. I will highlight a few things here, but it is best to read and understand the document as well. The more information we have the better equipped we are to combat a serious illness and prevent it. With outbreaks happening more often, keeping informed has become our number one defense. You have come to the right place.

Consumers who have symptoms of Salmonella infection should contact their health care provider to report their symptoms and receive care. Most people infected with Salmonella develop diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps. Most infections usually lasts 4 to 7 days and most people recover without treatment, however some people develop diarrhea so severe that they need to be hospitalized.

Children are more likely to get Salmonella. Children under five years of age and the elderly are at high risk.

Retailers need to not sell and discard the recalled product.

Restaurants should sanitize display cases, wash and sanitize all surfaces and utensils, and always wash hands after handling food.

What is Salmonella Mbandaka? A Recap

Simply put, Salmonella is a bacterium that can make people sick. The illness can last anywhere from 4 to 7 days and usually will go away without medical help. This is not a free pass to not seek medical help though. Prolonged exposure to Salmonella can lead to more severe issues.

Complications can arise if Salmonella is not treated.

  • Dehydration from diarrhea
  • Bacteria (Bacteria in the bloodstream) can lead to meningitis, sepsis, bacteremia, etc.
  • Reactive arthritis
  • Death

So, the easy answer here is: if symptoms appear, get to a doctor as soon as possible. Don’t wait.

  • According to  the, symptoms include:
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal Cramps
  • Diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Headache
  • Blood in Stool

Note: these symptoms could be misconstrued as many other illnesses. It is no surprise these symptoms sound a bit like food poisoning. It is worth repeating: seek medical attention if symptoms like these present themselves.

Outbreak Information

Due to the newness of this outbreak, it is prudent to discard Kellogg’s Honey Smacks purchased from any retail store. The states involved so far are as follows: Alabama, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, North Carolina, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, and West Virginia. Thirty-one states so far have reported cases.

To date, 73 people have fell ill but thankfully no deaths have been reported.

International readers be aware as well. This Salmonella outbreak is not just linked to the United States. Kellogg’s Honey Smack cereal is distributed to Guam, Saipan, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Tahiti.

What Now?

First and foremost, if this product is found, discard it IMMEDIATELY. Wash and clean everywhere this product might have come in contact with as well as utensils, surfaces, and hands. It is a good idea to take a snapshot of the box and keep your receipt.

Second, and possibly before removal of the cereal; if anyone is showing symptoms contact your family health care provider now. Do not wait!

The Kellogg Company’s website has instructions on refund information if you believe you purchased the cereal between the dates on the box.

Keep up with new information here as more comes available.

It is worth repeating, so I will do just that: DO NOT eat Kellogg’s Honey Smacks Cereal. I do not wish scare anyone into panic, but if I can keep you the reader from getting sick (or worse), I will scare you then.

Salmonella outbreaks are happening too often and it is our responsibility to stay informed, make sure we wash and prepare our food, and get involved.

The second I heard about this new outbreak, I contacted everyone I knew with children or could have had purchased this product. I don’t say this for any other reason, but to remind all of us how important it is we watch out for one another. Think about the people in your life and do they need this information. Make the call. Share this on Facebook. Get the word out. It could save a life.

By: Dwight Spencer, Contributing Writer (Non-Lawyer)